Most of the time we are told not worry about what other people say about us. A notable exception to this axiom is when it comes to writing a book. In this case, getting other people to say good things about you and your message is critical. These are endorsements and when it comes to book marketing, getting a list of strong endorsements for your book should be one of the first things you work on.
I consider there are four key steps that lead a prospective consumer to deciding to purchase your book.
Step 1 – The title, subtitle. If these are combined with a well-designed cover, they will capture people’s attention. That’s all you want them to do…stop a person in their tracks and make them pick up the book.
Step 2 – the descriptive copy on the back, or if it’s a hardback book with a dust jacket, it may be the front flap copy. What you say here will hopefully convey the value of your message enough that a buying decision will be made on the spot. What you say here is critical, yes, it should say what your book is about, but more importantly, it should let the prospective reader know how your book will inspire, inform or entertain them so much that they will be willing to part with their hard-earned lunch money to buy your book.
Step 3 – Your Endorsements. Let’s face it, people are skeptical. So even if you have captured someone’s attention with your thrilling book title, subtitle and design, even if you’ve appealed to their self-interest in an emotional way to make them hungry to know more by what you wrote on the back of the book, Many people still find reason to doubt. It’s easier to say no to a new purchase, especially when the book requires a commitment not only of money to buy it, but of time to read it.
So when you can show people what others are saying about your message, you are taking away more of that angst that may keep them from making a purchase. Especially when your endorsements are from a recognizable name, someone whom your potential reader knows or knows of, this goes a long way in eliminating any remaining skepticism.
There is another huge benefit from getting lots of endorsements – The people who were willing to endorse your book, are more likely to be willing to promote your book to their own following. They may be willing to post about you or your new book on their social media, or send an email to their list telling people about it, or offering your book on their own website.
Here are some guidelines for getting great endorsements.
- Get lots of them – plan on getting at least 20 endorsements – publish these in the first few pages of your book.
- Go for people of influence – the larger the following an endorser has, the better. Someone with an email list of 50,000 people and a million Twitter followers will be more beneficial to you than someone who is never on Facebook, doesn’t have a following and their sphere of influence is their 3 golfing buddies.
- Ask nicely – people are doing you a favor. Don’t demand or guilt people into giving you an endorsement. Don’t bribe them either. Be nice. Let them know you are asking for a favor and would be so appreciative and grateful for their willingness to help you.
- Make it easy – don’t require or expect people to actually read your book. Send them a simple email with a copy of your manuscript and proposed book cover design attached. Don’t give them a 4-paragraph summary of the book.
Explain in just a sentence or two why you wrote the book who you want to help, how you believe the book will be helpful and invite them to give you a 1-2 sentence comment that you can publish in your book. You might write out 2-3 sample endorsement and offer to let them choose something that you write if they don’t want to write something in their own words.
- Give them a deadline – ask for a reply in not more than a week. If you give too long a deadline, you’ll lose the sense of urgency. Ask people to take a few moments of their time within the next few days. Chances, are, people that don’t reply back within a week, won’t.
- Give options – allow people to endorse the specific message of your book. Or allow them to endorse the topic that your book is about. Maybe you wrote a book on the secret to a happy marriage. Someone may endorse marriage more than they are endorsing anything specific that your book has to say about marriage. That’s OK. Maybe they are more comfortable endorsing you more than the book itself. Again, that’s OK. When all these endorsements are gathered and published in your book, it will create a compelling supporting cast of people who are all saying to the potential reader; “You should go ahead and buy this book!”
- Share in multiple places – not only should you publish endorsements in your book but on websites where your book is sold, in promotional flyers, in social media, really anywhere you are presenting your book for sale, consider including one or more endorsements to be shown along with the book.
Start asking for endorsements as early into your publishing and book development process as possible. Don’t wait till the actual book is coming out. Let your endorsers feel special because you are cluing them in on the fact that you have a new book that will be coming out in a few months and you wanted them to be one of the first to know about it.
After the book is out, keep asking for positive feedback and reviews…these can be published and endorsements (with their permission of course) in future reprints of your book.